New Delhi: The year-long birth centenary celebrations of RSS ideologue Deen Dayal Upadhyaya kicked off on Friday with Home Minister Rajnath Singh stressing upon the need for debate on every ideology, notwithstanding the differences of opinion.
"In India, there are some people who want to restrict any debate around a few individuals. Our belief is no matter how many ideologies there are, there can be differences of opinion regarding them, but there should be debate on all ideologies," Singh said.
He was speaking at an event at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) to launch the birth centenary celebrations of Upadhyaya, one of the foremost leaders of Bhartiya Jan Sangh, BJP's forerunner, where Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley also paid tributes to the leader.
Asked why NMML was chosen for the launch of celebrations, Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma said it was not an attempt at "saffronisation".
"To call this saffronisation is indicative of a small mindset. For us Nehruji is as revered. Today we are celebrating Deen Dayalji's birth annivarsary. I think it is fortunate if, as per the objectives behind this institution, apart from Nehruji, others who contributed to the freedom struggle or making of modern India also find place here," Sharma told reporters.
He had recently said the government will undertake a major overhaul of 39 institutions, including the Gandhi Smriti and Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, to introduce modern Indian component, including works of the Modi dispensation, a move that was termed as "diabolical" by Congress. In his speech, Rajnath Singh referred to communist leader Dr Manabendra Nath Roy, and asked that if there can be debate on his radical humanism, why can there be not discussion on Deen Dayal Upadhyaya's idea of Integral Humanism.
"Radical Humanism, you will teach in text books, then why can't Integral Humanism be discussed," he asked.
Speaking about Upadhyaya's vision for uplift of the weak, Singh said one way to help them is by extending them government facilities over a long period, while the second is to make them self-sufficient so they are no longer dependent.
"Now you have to choose, what is the best way. Our government has never tried to win support by offering baksheesh (tip)," the Home Minister said.
Jaitley said Upadhyaya, a journalist, economist and political scientist, had left his imprint on a variety of fields.
Referring to Jawaharlal Nehru without naming him, Jaitley said after independence there was a political party and a Prime Minister who had tall political stature and ideologically there was dominance of communism worldwide.
Lauding Upadhyaya, he said in such a situation, creating a parallel thought and establishing a distinct organisation required an exceptional personality.
Jaitley also credited to Upadhayaya's vision several measures taken by the Modi government for the people.
Lok Sabha Speaker Mahajan said Upadhyaya felt that a strong opposition was important in democracy and believed that "social untouchability is evil, but political untouchability is even more dangerous."
Mahajan also emphasised on the need for holistic education and questioned the present system where there is too much focus on obtaining maximum possible marks in examinations.
She also said the world is keenly following the working of Indian Democracy.
Lok Sabha TV is going to telecast a 13-episode documentary based on Upadhyaya's life weekly beginning today.